Sunday, October 19, 2014

Easy Halloween Costumes for Children, 1987 Style

Near the entrance to the local library after the alcove in front, there is currently a display of  holiday-related books. Among them was this rather odd book titled Easy Halloween Costumes for Children. It was written and illustrated by Leila Albala, and is the third printing, from 1987.  A bit outdated, you all are likely thinking and yes that is true.  Seemed a bit random, so I decided to check it out just for the fun of it.  

Here is a scan of the orange cover with the black-and-white illustrations seen inside the book.

Along with the costume ideas and instructions, the books includes safety advice, Halloween history and fun facts, and instructions making accessories such as wigs,  wings, makeup, among other things.  

A visual index of the costumes is included with a reference number and the number of the page on which it is found.  

There are also black-and-white photos of kids wearing the costumes given in the books.  Some can be seen on the page facing the visual index (in the photo above).  Another in the photo scan below:

The costumes for which constructions are given include all the standard ones that are popular even today such as princess, skeleton, pirate, witch, angel, clowns, devil, cowboy, pumpkin and the like.  No vampires, however--very surprising.  There are 60 costumes total, and 14 others  that can be made at the last minute including a nurse, vagabond, paper boy, balloon tree and old woman, among others.  Some very bizarre ones include something called a Halloweener. Not sure anyone would have ever done that one then, let alone now.  It's one of those things that would take a lot of explaining.  It's described as following;

Make a helmet from a large plastic container and cover it with orange adhesive vinyl.  (Or make the helmet form orange from orange poster board: Glue ends of rectangular piece together into a circle around the head; cut face opening. Cut top circle, clipping around outside edge and glue clipped edge under lower section.)  Antennas from long, black pipe cleaners. Add elastic chinstrap. 
Poncho: Cut a large circle orange vinyl or plastic to reach from wrist to wrist between child's outstretched arms; cut a hole in the middle for head and cut a fringe all around lower edge. Zigzagged strips of black construction paper are taped around helmet and onto poncho's shoulders.
Make a drawstring bag from orange fabric circle, padded with batting, glue or sew on facial features made form black felt. 
How bizarre is this? Would you have done it in 1987 or even now?   This costume illustration can be seen in this photo:

And no surprise that there ethnic costumes included, seeing as this book was published in 1987.  Indians (Native Americans) not surprisingly are included. Along with a Mexican costume.  Such costumes still are made today, even though they incur the wrath of the "politically correct police."  A vagabond costume is included as well, another not considered "PC" today, but which can still be seen these days.  I do not personally want to invoke this PV nonsense, but costumes such as these have never been of any interest to me.  The page with the Indians is on the right.

And the vagabond can be seen in the page scan on the left, along with two "Strangers from Mars" costumes, one for a boy and one for girl.  These are among the "last-minute costumes."

And one more page scan on how to make cat, bunny or mouse costumes.  These would definitely be more appropriate than what you see in that infamous Halloween party scene in the hit film Mean Girls. Even though this was from 1987, there is no reason they can still be done this way:

And here is scan of the back cover:

What do you think?  is this book too outdated, or can the ideas still be used?

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